Articles Posted in DUI accidents

The owner of the International Polo Club Palm Beach, Mr. John Goodman, recently took the stand to testify in his own criminal trial on an OUI manslaughter charge in Florida. Goodman was operating his Bentley in 2010 when he collided with the 23 year old man Scott Wilson in his motor vehicle, causing Wilson’s death.

Goodman testified that he was not intoxicated at the time of operation, although he admitted to having drank multiple alcoholic beverages immediately before the collision. According to Goodman, he was at a party where he consumed alcohol, purchased alcohol for his friends, but was nonetheless sober when he got behind the wheel of his Bentley to purchase a frosty from a local Wendy’s restaurant. Rather, what caused him to lose control of the vehicle colliding with Wilson was faulty breaks in the Bentley.

Goodman was tested following the accident, and had a BAC level of twice the legal limit. Goodman explained that he actually became intoxicated after the accident, when he left the scene of the accident and drank heavily at a nearby location throughout that night. And in his second trial, he offered witness testimony corroborating this explanation. The bartender of the bar where Goodman was drinking before the accident may also be called to testify as to Goodman’s sobriety at the time of the accident.

A Boston University professor is facing a charge of vehicular homicide in Plymouth in the wake of an Oct. 7 crash that claimed the life of a 26-year-old Plymouth man.

Criminal charges stemming from fatal accidents are always serious. But the issues are often exacerbated by allegations of drunk or drugged driving. These cases should always be handled by an experienced Plymouth criminal defense attorney. In many cases, ” accidents” really are “accidents.” While tragic, criminal charges are often unwarranted. 1111010_motorcycle_reflections.jpg

Robert Zelnick, 71, of Brookline, is accused of turning his SUV into the path of a motorcycle driven by Brendan Kennedy, of Plymouth. The accident occurred on Clark Road in the vicinity of the Route 3 on-ramp.

A magistrate in Plymouth District Court found probable cause to charge Zelnick with failure to yield to oncoming traffic and motor vehicle homicide. His driver’s license was immediately revoked by the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

Under Massachusetts law (Chapter 90, Section 24G), a conviction for motor vehicle homicide is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a 15-year suspension of a defendant’s driver’s license.

In this case a Massachusetts defense attorney will carefully review the facts and circumstances of this accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports failure to yield is one of the leading causes of fatal motorcycle accidents in the United States. Often, this can be because the motorcycle is traveling too fast. In other cases, the setting sun or other visual obstructions may contribute to the accident. Proving the defendant was not responsible for the accident would typically result in a dismissal of the charges. Proving he was not solely responsible, or that mitigating circumstances exist, may result in a reduction or dismissal of the charges.

In order to be convicted of vehicular homicide in Massachusetts, the state must prove that you were operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, or that you were operating recklessly or negligently, so that lives were endangered. And that as a result of such actions, a death occurred.

Applying the law requires a certain amount of common sense. After all, there is an at-fault party in every fatal accident. Theoretically then, in cases where an at-fault party survives a fatal accident, he or she could be charged with vehicular homicide. Yet that is not the case. These charges most often stem from drunk driving accidents — though there has been no public assertion that alcohol or drugs were involved in this case. In such cases, the defense attorney will work to defend a client from both the drunk driving charge and the allegation that he or she was responsible for causing the accident. If either can be disproven, a reduction or dismissal of the charges is possible.

Zelnick spent more than two decades working for ABC News before accepting a position at Boston University, where is is a professor of national and international affairs. The Boston Globe reports he is the author of four books and has worked as a reporter in Israel and Moscow and as a Pentagon correspondent.
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Jalen Rose, a 13-year NBA guard and current analyst, was sentenced to 20 days in a Michigan jail recently following a March DUI crash, the Detroit Free Press reports.

It seems like celebrities charged with crimes sometimes get lenient sentences compared to everyday people. But in this case, the judge went out of her way to send a message, knowing that the media would be picking up the story.
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And in more in more cases, DUI defendants are facing serious penalties — regardless of who they are. OUI penalties in Massachusetts can be complicated by accidents, previous convictions or other charges. Unlike other misdemeanor offenses, OUI in Massachusetts carries a range of penalties most misdemeanor charges don’t require. And that’s why hiring an experienced Massachusetts OUI Attorney is critical.

Consider the possible penalties for even a first-time DUI offender in Massachusetts:

  • Up to two and a half years in the House of Correction
  • Up to one year driver’s license suspension
  • Completion of an alcohol education program
  • Possible 1 year probation sentence

And a conviction is expensive. By some estimates, a drunk driving conviction can cost as much as $20,000, counting fines, lost work, court costs, jail time, treatment, probation and skyrocketing insurance premiums. Most misdemeanor charges are penalized by days to months in jail without all the other possible penalties. But lawmakers have used their positions to continually enhance the penalties against these those accused of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. .

According to the news article, Rose was arrested March 11 after he crashed his Cadillac Escalade in a town outside Detroit. He registered a .08 blood alcohol content level on a preliminary breath test at the scene and later registered a .12 blood alcohol content in a blood test.

Under Michigan law, .08 is legally drunk. He pleaded guilty in May to one count of driving while under the influence, a misdemeanor in Michigan. Rose’s attorneys believe the judge abused her power because a newspaper analysis showed that most judges in metro Detroit and nationwide sentence first-time offenders to time served or a few days in jail if their blood-alcohol level is about .17.

What should be noted are a mistake Rose made as well as a possible area of defense. According to the article, Rose blew a .08 when given a breathalyzer test. In Massachusetts, refusing a breath test can result in a driver’s license suspension, but it also denies the prosecution some key evidence against the defendant.

There are several defenses to a breath test. A breathalyzer is a device that has a tube at the end and is supposed to measure a person’s blood-alcohol content level. But the devices can only estimate a person’s BAA because the devices are inherently faulty. There have been problems nationwide regarding reliability of these devices.

The article also states he was given a blood test. It’s possible for a defendant to refuse to provide these tests, but law enforcement officers will sometimes seek a warrant from a judge in order to force the test. This is particularly true when an accident is involved. An experienced and aggressive Massachusetts OUI attorney can fight to keep this evidence from making its way to trial.
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